A new approach to marketing and media audits can provide improvement to the bottom line

Cash rebates, free media inventory rebates, mark ups from 30 to 90 percent, dual rate cards, and non-transparent business practices are all things that can keep senior audit managers and audit committee members of the board awake at night.

Unfortunately, the Association of National Advertisers noted all of these as areas of concern in the 58 page Media Transparency Study it released in June. The study was conducted by K2 Intelligence and a follow up publication by Ebiquity, released in July, outlines business practices and controls advertisers should have in place to better manage media spend in the U.S. market. The K2 report should be used by all advertisers "as a catalyst to rethink their approach to media."

Just like everyone else, audit departments are faced with the biggest challenge of today's business world: how to do more with less. In marketing, the largest area of spend is typically media. And yet, even though it's the largest area of spend, approximately 60 percent of advertisers do not perform media audits. It seems an obvious conclusion that if your audit team does just one audit in the marketing area, it should be media.

Angela Saferite will be speaking on this topic at the SuperStrategies 2016 conference taking place in Las Vegas from Sept. 27 to 29. Learn more about the study, recommendations, and approaches to managing media risks. Click here for more information or to register to attend.

To address the concerns and recommendations in the study, audit departments should consider more than just an audit. The most successful approach companies can take to addressing the concerns of the study is to work with the chief marketing officer and put together a strategy to address the business risks. Proactive audit departments should be anticipating the questions from audit committees in upcoming meetings and be prepared to present short- and long-term plans for addressing these risks.

This is the time for audit departments to work in tandem with the marketing team on:

• Analyzing and understanding the media spend

• Reviewing and updating the metrics and KPI's that are driving marketing performance

• Collaborating with procurement and legal counsel to understand and review contracts

• Performing audits including proof of performance, rates, GRP's, rebates, and other indicators

• Partnering with marketing to understand strategy, campaigns, and spend

• Consulting with media specialists

• Establishing or improving marketing operations with internal and external resources

• Implementing media governance best practices

Imagine the success and value to your company and marketing department these efforts could have when your team is able to identify additional dollars to take to the bottom line or reinvest in marketing initiatives.

Angela Saferite is the Founder and President of Saferite Consulting LLC specializing in agency transitions and governance, media audits, business process studies, compliance, marketing operations, and budget management. She can be reached at angela@saferiteconsulting.com